Environmental Information

This area of work is central to the mission of the REC and aims to raise environmental awareness and encourage environmental protection in, and related to, Central and Eastern Europe. The activities of the topic area support the free exchange and flow of information, with the aim of helping the development of an environmentally focused, knowledge-based society; encourage greater responsibility among professionals for the provision of environmental information; and foster increased public involvement in decision-making processes.

  • Team
  • Activities
  • Selected projects

The two main themes of the topic area are:

  • Providing environmental information, including a range of newsletters published by the head office and country offices; question and answer services; and a number of specific project-based resources (good-practice guides, translated guides, seminars) targeted to different audiences and on different thematic issues (e.g. energy, sustainable urban transport, water management, biodiversity); and
  • Empowering others to provide environmental information, by enabling key environmental information practitioners at all political and non-political levels to manage knowledge in a timely, efficient and transparent manner through different tools, techniques and media.

The Environmental Information Topic Area has become increasingly involved in the field of sustainable urban mobility in recent years, implementing projects focused on the large-scale dissemination of information and the take-up and exploitation of the results of research and demonstration projects.

Information services

The topic area produces bespoke project websites, promotional leaflets and newsletters. It is also capable of producing market surveys and reports. Language is not a problem, since besides its own linguistic diversity the team can rely on a wide network of consulting experts across the region who can rapidly deliver materials in any variety of EU and accession/candidate country languages.

Examples of recent publishing assignments include:

  • AENEAS – related to elderly persons’ sustainable mobility (including a website in five languages, an electronic newsletter and leaflet).
  • SPICYCLES – where the team helped promote cycling as a more popular means of urban transport (including a brochure and wrap-up report).
  • CABRI-VOLGA – concerning Europe’s largest river basin, the Volga (including a website and newsletter in both Russian and English).
  • SMAQ (Satellite-Assisted Management of Air Quality) – where the REC surveyed the SMAQ toolkit’s technology transfer potential in eight of the new EU member states. The resulting publication, View from Above, was commended by the EC as “a very good report”.
  • Green Horizon – the REC’s quarterly online news magazine, as well as local newsletters, such as REC Albania’s Environment Today.

Services empowering others to provide information

Documenting case studies and best practices and sharing them in practical terms through workshops and seminars is a well-known means of empowering administrative officials in the use of methodologies, toolkits and technologies. Some examples of the topic area’s efforts in this field over the last ten years include:

  • The use of electronic tools to provide environmental information within the framework of the Aarhus Convention. More than 40 case studies were recorded and made availableonline.
  • Demonstrating an information and communications technology (ICT) solution that uses satellite and ground data to manage air quality (SMAQ) by hosting a series of capacity-building and discussion workshops. This was undertaken in collaboration with the EU’s Joint Research Centre.
  • Documenting and posting for the Internet community at large hundreds of local case studies from across Europe on efforts to achieve sustainable urban mobility, on behalf of the European Commission’s DG TREN, via the European Local Transport Information Service ELTIS.
CIVITAS Initiative services

The flagship activity of the topic area is its four-year support to the European Commission’s CIVITAS Initiative though the CIVITAS Plus phase of the initiative.

Until 2013, the REC is the secretariat of the CIVITAS Initiative. This not only means it becomes the focal point for all 160 cities that are current members of the CIVITAS Forum city network, but also that it hosts its Political Advisory Committee, the CIVITAS Forum members.

The team consists of internationally experienced senior experts who hail from a variety of locations including the UK, the US, the new EU member states, as well as the SEE region. Their broad technical and scientific know-how encompasses environmental science, policy and management, information science, agriculture, education and local development; and their linguistic skills span more than ten languages.

They bring a combined total of over 75 years’ experience and the key strengths of knowledge management, including information research and retrieval; storage (database, content management system design); and dissemination (reporting, publishing, presentation).

Thanks to their diverse backgrounds, team members have a keen appreciation of different cultural approaches. This has enabled the emergence of skills and solutions in dealing with colleagues, partners, clients and experts both locally and across the globe. The secret to the team’s success has always been its ability to put the beneficiary first.

The team includes:

  • Jerome Simpson (jsimpson at rec.org)
  • Gabor Heves (gheves at rec.org)
  • Csaba Mezei (csmezei at rec.org)
  • Greg Spencer (gspencer at rec.org)
  • Wioletta Szymanska (wszymanska at rec.org)
  • Nathan Johnson (njohnson at rec.org)
  • Tamara Nikolic (tnikolic at rec.org)
  • Milena Skrl Marega (milena.marega at guest.arnes.si)

Throughout the REC’s country office network, many more experts complement this core team. For further information please contact Jerome Simpson (jsimpson at rec.org).

Advancing Sustainable Urban Transport in an Enlarged Europe through CIVITAS (CIVITAS VANGUARD)

The CIVITAS Initiative &mdash City-Vitality -Sustainability &mdash promotes cleaner and better transport in cities. Through the initiative, the European Commission aims to generate a decisive breakthrough by supporting and evaluating the implementation...

  • Attaining Energy-Efficient Mobility in an Ageing Society (AENEAS)
  • Dissemination of Best Practices for Cleaner and Better Transport in Cities (CIVITAS CATALIST)
  • Information on Air Quality in Europe (CITEAIR)
  • Contribution to the EU CIVITAS ELAN Initiative: Mobilising Citizens for Vital Cities
  • Large-Scale Dissemination of Results of European Research Initiatives on Clean Urban Transport (PARAMOUNT)
  • Increasing Children's Awareness of Energy Efficiency, Renewable Energy and Energy-Efficient Transport

More projects
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